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Archive for the ‘Alexei Leonov’ Category

[ATTENDED: September 12, 2017] Public Service Broadcasting

I first saw Public Service Broadcasting on their amazing Tiny Desk Concert.  I was blown away that J. Willgoose, Esq. and Wrigglesworth could make such complex and satisfying music with just the two of them (all the while projecting visuals behind them that matched the songs perfectly.

I instantly put them near the top of the list of bands that I wanted to see live.  But I also put them very high on my list of bands that I’d be unlikely to see live since I assumed they played primarily in the UK (whether they have recently played festivals).  Plus, how likely were they to come to the US to tour their most recent album which is all about coal mining in Wales (seriously–and it’s fantastic).

Well, when I saw that they were playing The Foundry, I bought a ticket immediately.  I figured that the show would either be unattended or sold out.  Well, sadly for the band, it was barely attended, but luckily for me, that meant I got to hang out right in front of the stage (and even meet the guys afterwards).

But even if there were only 100 or so people, the band didn’t act like the crowd was puny (because everyone there was really into it).  They played an amazing show and I’m thrilled to have seen it.

In the way of bands who don’t have roadies, all three guys were there to tune up their gear for about ten minutes before they ultimately left the stage and then came back on fresh and new.  It gave them time to put up the test pattern above.

I parked myself right in front of J. Willgoose, which was awesome seeing everything he did.  I joked with my friend Marcus (who has seen the band 6 times in the States and was going to Brooklyn the following night to watch them again) that I didn’t know where to stand.  J. Willgoose overheard and said it didn’t matter because they didn’t do anything interesting.  This was utterly false, as it was great watching everything that J. Willgoose did with guitars, keys, foot pedals, and so much more.  He even played percussion.  I only wish I had been a little to the left because I was actually so close, his keyboard was blocking some of the rest of the stage (the horrors). (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: LYDIA AINSWORTH-“Afterglow” NPR’S SOUTH X LULLABY (March 23, 2017).

I was unfamiliar with Lydia Ainsworth, but I was instantly struck by the setting of her lullaby.

We asked Lydia Ainsworth to perform in Raum Industries’ Optic Obscura installation. Surrounded by dim, long-hanging optical fibers that look like an infinity room of cat’s whiskers, she sings a stripped-down version of the slow-burning “Afterglow,” accompanied only by an upright bass and light percussion.

I’m not sure what the original song sounds like, but this version is moody and intense.  The upright bass opens the song as Lydia’s whispered, sensual vocals come forth.  She has a beautiful voice and it is especially haunting in this setting.  It reminds me a bit of someone else although I can’t decide who.

The starkness of the silence when she stops singing is intense.  And I really like the way the song ends, not abruptly exactly, but rather unexpectedly.

[READ: March 21, 2016] T-Minus

Jim Ottaviani did the amazing graphic novel Feynman, and in the blurb about him in that book, it said that he also wrote T-Minus.  Coincidentally I had just brought T-Minus home for Clark and I to read.  He read it quickly and said it was very good.  It took me a little longer to read (I’m sure he didn’t read all the details) because Ottaviani jam packs this book with interesting facts.

As the title says, this is about the race to get a man to the moon.  It begins 12 years before the actual date occurred.  And it toggles back and forth between the United States and the Soviet Union.

On the margins of many pages there are drawings of all of the various attempts each country had to get a rocket into the air.  The drawings show the design and then at the bottom it states the duration of the flight, the date and some other details.  The USSR’s first rocket (1957) lasted all of 20 seconds before exploding.  The U.S’s first rocket lasted about 7 seconds.

We meet a handful of people who were instrumental in the design and origination of these rockets.  (Ottaviani explains that many of these people are composites of real people involved–if he wanted to include everyone, there would be 400 people in every panel). (more…)

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